The heart of a child

I had a hard time falling asleep last night, because I was thinking about ways to reach our oldest son, James.

James is 14, and yes, he is a teenager and we’re dealing with teenage-ish things. However, this is not what keeps me up at night.

The fact is, James has been…I guess you could call him a “troubled” child since he was very young. He plays a good game; he makes people think he’s a good kid, but then he turns around and does something really deceitful or mean. We never quite know what’s going on in James’ heart, because he is so good at deceiving us. Most of the time we find out what he’s doing way after the fact.

He is on medication now, anti-depressants, and they seem to help – that is, when he remembers to take them. Last week was a hard week; he loves to argue with Dean over anything – and I do mean anything. This particular time he decided that Emma’s video game time was over (we give the kids about an hour of video game time on the weekends) and abruptly turned off her game. We told him he was out of line, etc., and he fixated on one little point and started arguing the heck out of it, lost his temper, and was sent to his room, where he promptly destroyed his bookshelves and punched a gigantic hole in the wall, screaming obscenities.

He’s grounded right now, but it doesn’t affect him whatsoever. This is just one example of the kind of stuff we deal with on a daily basis; he’s constantly arguing, or picking on his brother and sister, and he’s always planning, planning, planning something that’s inappropriate and underhanded.

We are at our wit’s end with this child. We love him very much, and have always taught him carefully that these kinds of decisions are wrong. We’ve never given any reason to be angry with us, he has been a cherished child since he was born, and yet. And yet.

Just when I think maybe he’s starting to change, or turn towards what is right, he does something that shows us that he is just playing with us. All we can do at this point is pray and continue to do what we know is right so we don’t have any regrets later. That’s all we know to do.

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